2023 WORLD JUNIOR SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- September 4 – 9, 2023
- Netanya, Israel
- Wingate Institute
- LCM (50m)
- Meet Central
- How To Watch
- Psych Sheets
- Live Results
- Day 1 Prelims Live Recap | Day 1 Finals Live Recap
- Day 2 Prelims Live Recap| Day 2 Finals Live Recap
- Day 3 Prelims Live Recap | Day 3 Finals Live Recap
- Day 4 Prelims Live Recap | Day 4 Finals Live Recap
- Day 5 Prelims Live Recap | Day 5 Finals Live Recap
Australia’s stable of female sprint stars just keeps getting deeper.
Olivia Wunsch capped the fifth night of the World Junior Championships with a blazing 52.61 freestyle anchor to lift the Australian girls’ 400-meter free relay to victory over the United States. NC State commit Erika Pelaez was the only other swimmer in the field sub-54 with a 53.89 anchor for the U.S., but she was still more than a second slower than Wunsch’s otherworldly split.
For context, Wunsch’s 52.61 split is faster than every American at this year’s World Championships except for Kate Douglass (52.28), but still slower than Australia’s world-record-breaking quartet of Mollie O’Callaghan (52.08), Shayna Jack (51.69), Meg Harris (52.29), and Emma McKeon (51.90). At only 17 years old, Wunsch is surely on track to be a key Aussie relay contributor at the LA 2028 Olympics, and perhaps even as soon as Paris 2024 given her rapid improvement recently.
Heading into this meet, Wunsch had never been under 54 seconds in the 100 free, with her lifetime best sitting 54.50 from Junior Pan Pacs last year. Then she clocked a personal-best 53.71 to win gold in the 100 free on Wednesday before splitting 53.61 to help the Australian mixed 400 free relay break the world junior record with a total time of 3:24.29.
On Friday, Wunsch also led the 50 free semifinals with a personal-best 24.60, shaving a quarter of a second off her previous-best 24.85 from April. She’ll be seeking her fourth gold medal of the meet in the 50 free final on Saturday, with her stiffest competition expected to come from Italy’s Sara Curtis. Curtis qualified 2nd with a personal-best 24.91, taking a couple tenths off her previous-best 25.14 that won gold at the European Junior Championships in July.
Wunsch’s new lifetime best in the 50 free would have qualified for the World Championships final this year and placed 8th.